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Home Sales Set For Boost On Shropshire Staffordshire Borders

Charlie Giffard is quite familiar with moving house; his return to the Shropshire, Staffordshire border is his 11th move: In August he upped sticks from London with his wife, Tessa and young family – initially staying at his family home, Chillington Hall, Brewood, and just a few weeks ago moving to a farmhouse on the Estate.

Chillington Hall has been in the Giffard family more than 800 years, and so Charlie grew up with fond memories of visiting his grandparents initially from his parents’ home nearby. Then at ten years old his family spent four years in Yorkshire where Charlie’s father, John Giffard was assistant chief constable of North Yorkshire Police. At the age of fourteen and with Dad promoted to Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Chillington Hall became home for Charlie.

His next move was to the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, and then the cosmopolitan life in London beckoned. He muses: “Down in London nobody really knew where Staffordshire and Shropshire was – they are hidden gems. The family’s running joke was that living on the border, our friends only knew they had gone through Staffordshire, when they received a letter from Dad; a speeding ticket issued in his official capacity!”

With the boys, the 31st generation of Giffards, now four and two and a half years old, the couple felt the time was right to return home to the country. This included Tessa’s Catering and Events Company which attracts clients from as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland, putting flamboyance and flavour into 21sts, 50ths, weddings and even children’s birthday parties.

It is a move that suits all three generations: The young boys the freedom to roam; Charlie the opportunity to carve his career closer to home, while beginning the process of taking the reins of the Chillington Estate and for his parents, John and Crescent the chance to enjoy a gentler pace and their grandchildren.

Preservation and progress is evident since the family took residence in the 12th century, the property has developed from Norman fortified manor, to medieval manor, then Tudor additions and ultimately in 1785 Sir John Soane was commissioned to execute his vision of a new Chillington.  This time the Tudor house was removed but the relatively new south wing was incorporated into the fabric to create the Georgian house seen today.

Charlie explains each generation has contributed to Chillington: “Great Grandfather was concerned that the south wing was moving, so glass was placed to test that movement, they knew that if it cracked within a week there was a problem. It cracked on the first day and as a result he had to underpin the south wing corner, Grandfather re-wired the whole house in his time. Then after we moved in 1999, Mum and Dad have updated the whole house to a more comfortable 21st century living.”

Today the interior of Chillington Hall is all you would expect from a grand house of the period. Restoration work of original features, won the prestigious Historic Houses Association/Sotheby's Restoration Award in 2009 for the Saloon as the best refurbishment of a room or rooms in a Country House, resulting in a truly magnificent setting for any event. From weddings and other private celebrations to corporate entertainment and film set, Chillington Hall has an indefinable charm; probably because the family has never lost sight of its foremost purpose as an intimate, family home. 

Considering John retired from police service in 2006 it is evident that he, together with Crescent, has been pretty busy at Chillington in the intervening years nurturing a home, while adapting and modernizing to preserve the best of the past and create the magic of another era. Today, Charlie ponders what his future contribution might be.

Meantime, Charlie was notching up experience in central London property, initially as a residential search agent: “I was acting on behalf of clients to seek out their brief. It was a fascinating role where I saw some fantastic properties – and instigated sales that went through with breath-taking speed, 48 hours for the whole legal process to be wrapped-up, it was unbelievable to be part of.”

He then switched to the other side of the fence, selling residential property and ultimately managed a prestigious Fulham estate agency, where he relays stories of superlative and magnificent homes,” he recalls.

Now returning to home turf, he brings an equally valuable wealth of local and regional knowledge gleaned as the 30th generation to have grown-up within the bounds of his home territory and attending Shrewsbury Schools. As a result he has now joined one of the region’s leading independent estate agents, Balfours. Charlie is to build territory into East Shropshire and West Staffordshire. 

Coincidence or otherwise, head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton, also developed his skills in the London residential market and also now with young family has chosen to settle with family roots in Shropshire. Alistair comments: “Shropshire is a fabulous county in which to work, particularly with a young family, here you can achieve a balanced lifestyle and for us that is enhanced with the clientele and properties we engage with at Balfours.”

Charlie reflects: “Balfours may not go back as far as the Giffards, but they are one of the county’s oldest established agents and a true success, with significant growth in the sales department since moving to offices in Shrewsbury’s Square. My base will be shared between Shrewsbury and the Estate office, so that I can provide a personal and dedicated resource within the two counties.

With his own move still fresh in his mind, Charlie adds: “For me representing the Balfours residential sales team so close to home is a great opportunity and the timing is perfect. It is hugely satisfying to guide vendors in their move and to help them achieve their aspirations.” If you would like a free property appraisal, call Charlie on 01902 544 111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Charlie G outdoor

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